At the barber’s again

A colleague and I went to the barber’s this morning. My favourite tonsorial artist had boasted to me that he had customers coming 40 kilometres to have their hair done at his salon, “Nadia’s Fashions”. He said that he only charged 140 Rand for hair colouring – £6.50 – which undercuts (sorry) the hairdressers in the capital. My colleague wanted a touch of red added to her locks, so she was keen to try his services. I have less than a week to go in Swaziland, so I wanted to have one last crop.

Unfortunately, the maestro was fully occupied with my colleague and left my haircut to his younger, less experienced brother. My cut took five minutes. No scalp massage, no shoulder rub, no tip! It is not the worst haircut I’ve had here, but it is close. Not worth the £1.40 it cost me.

I got to meet Nadia, the owner’s daughter, who was watching a video on her dad’s smart phone. She took my money (and my tip) and I took her photograph. She even features on the calendar in the shop.

As we waited for the dye to take, I noticed that some men from the restaurant next door had laid out some corn on the pavement. I thought this was a generous act of feeding the birds. Then I noticed a noose and length of string hidden by the corn. It was a trap! I wondered if pigeon was on the menu.


I won’t embarrass my colleague by posting her photograph here, but in the background I could see the younger brother shaving a man’s head. Huh! He gave him a good scalp massage.

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.


  1. Hi Ian, Its been awhile since I have pestered you with questions. Is Nadia wearing head covering because they are Sunni? I believe I read you are headed to Ethiopia after your work is finished. What’s next? Most importantly, what did you colleague think of her salon experience?

    1. What’s next? Vacation in South Africa. Then two weeks in Ethiopia. Six weeks working in British General Practice to keep my licence to practise in UK, which (paradoxically) is necessary if I want to work abroad. Then three months in Zambia, working at Kakumbi Rural Health Centre.

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